Another jumble of important news stories -- many more than we have time for, and it makes the order a tricky equation. The markets had another good day today as well.
It's been a rough go in the Pacific Northwest. Mission Ridge in Washington State recorded an overnight wind gust of 135 mph -- and SeaTac airport in Seattle recorded its fourth highest wind gust ever. The Weather Channel is running dramatic video from yesterday of what appears to be a 757 doing a go-around in an unstable landing attempt in what looks like freakish crosswinds. All of this weather is happening during a huge military search for three climbers. We'll have reports on each tonight.
This was departure day for Donald Rumsfeld at the Pentagon -- full honors for the departing civilian chief of the military. Watching the President-elect name him to the job just now on videotape...President Bush looks 20 years younger. Producer Andy Franklin is suggesting we show tape of Rumsfeld's first farewell ceremony (after his first stint in the job) tonight for comparison. If there is time, we will. We also have a wonderful story about this nation's combat veterans tonight. Speaking of which, wasn't Bob Faw's story about the Christmas wreaths at Arlington just breathtaking on last night's broadcast?
Tonight we will check in on the not-based-in-reality world of Wall Street bonuses, and we will follow up on yesterday's good breast cancer news. We have a great look at who we are as Americans, thanks to the census figures out today. And its friday, so that means a Making A Difference report...which tonight is about a person doing some very important work.
ABOUT THAT SONG...
I will have a word with my friend Gena Fitzgerald in Washington who has posted something I have written about as a potential longer feature in this space: the Daily Nightly...the song...by the Monkees. The truth is, I wrote it long ago, and it was to be a featured post the day Hurricane Katrina hit. Mother nature had other plans, a crisis intervened, and my writing is sitting in some computer file unread. Gena beat me to it, fair and square. Short of admitting to being a Monkees fan in the '60s, let me say this: back when we named this blog as a take-off on Nightly News (more of a "Daily News"-type newspaper theme...the Daily Nightly...OK, I'll stop) I knew full well about the song. As Monkees fans may remind us with a posting or two, there is an elaborate back story behind the song...and the irony is that it has to do with the news media. I was once on a plane with someone who said they knew Michael Nesmith...they quoted him as saying he was aware of our blog and was fine with the title. Nesmith, by the way, was the Monkee who was always in the knit hat -- who turned out to be arguably the best pure musician in the bunch. His previous claim to fame in life had involved his mother, who, as a secretary invented what we now call Wite-out to correct typing errors. Gena's posting now means a piece of journalism will have to die. But it's OK...those interested in the derivation of "Daily Nightly" the song title can have at it on Google. He who hesitates is lost...I'll blame it on Katrina, not Gena.
ABOUT LAST NIGHT
Now it can be told: the staff of NBC Nightly News gathered at Chelsea Piers in New York for a night of bowling. The photos tell just part of the story. Today I feel like I've used about half of the products advertised on Nightly News for aches and pains -- usually not associated with a 47-year-old man in otherwise good health. As I find each year in our family Thanksgiving football game (the annual "Passive Aggression Classic") there are sets of muscles we don't use in day-to-day life. Some of them I haven't used since I last suited up for a high school football game. I used them all last night, and they aren't letting me forget it. It was a blast. From Sean the Intern from Ohio who bowls with an open hand (he says the finger holes don't work with his unique ball delivery) to Sima from Graphics who had never bowled before -- to Billy Catalano whose matching monogrammed bag and ball I find so intimidating...it was a great night, shared with and by a great group of people. I felt pretty good about bowling a 129 until Jean Harper, on my own team, clocked a 134. I had concerns early on in the evening that I would bowl my age. It was also a useful reminder of an axiom in our society that we don't repeat nearly often enough: no one looks good in bowling shoes. It's one area in life where George Clooney has no advantage.
ABOUT THAT SECRET SANTA
If you read Barbara Raab's posting yesterday, then you know about our gift exchange. What she didn't tell you is: a brand new U.S. Supreme Court gold ruler now graces the desk in my office. It carries the official seal of the Court and, like the work of the Court, is a precise device. Barbara is a non-practicing attorney and knows my love of all things Court-related, and since I had no idea there were such things as "Court-themed gifts," imagine my surprise. It was kismet and it was very kind.
BACK TO THE BROADCAST
As you can tell, the distractions of the holidays are creeping into our days about now...I'm happy to say that we currently have exactly one dog and two children visiting our third floor offices. Interns are departing to resume their studies, offices are starting to empty as vacations and even shopping days off start to kick in. We will soldier on, and will gather in the newsroom in a short while to make sense of all of this and put it in narrative form. We hope you can join us for our Friday broadcast, and we hope you have a happy and safe weekend. We'll see you on Monday.
Photos by M.L. Flynn
Image 1: From left, Lauren Fairbanks, Carol Eggers, Bryan Haynesworth, Bita Nikravesh, Sam Singal and Matthew Ryan.
Image 2: From left, Anne Thompson, Neal Meltzer, Elizabeth Wilner, Tom Dawson, Ginny Harris, Adaora Udoji, John Reiss and Ron Allen.